Alone

"Very Good"

Alone Review


If you thought sibling rivalry was bad, imagine how nasty a fight would be with your brother or sister attached to your body.

The Thai film Alone puts you in the shoes of Pim (Masha Wattanapanich), the sole survivor of a separation surgery between her and her Siamese twin, Ploy. Feeling responsible for Ploy's death, Pim has since moved to Korea with her boyfriend to escape her guilt. But when she returns to Thailand to visit her dying mother, she's shocked to find her twin is still beside her in the form of a ghost.

Alone is the second collaborative film by directors Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom (whose first project together was the original Shutter, which was later remade in the U.S.). It's clear the directors have a knack for visuals: The composition of Alone is dark and gritty with minimal CGI, conducive to a frighteningly chilly atmosphere. There are several artistic images -- motifs, if you will -- of objects being cut in half to allude to the twins' separation, perhaps suggesting something isn't over between them.

The most powerful images by far are those of the ghost. Pim is quite an attractive woman, but Ploy isn't looking so hot: As a ghost, she's a rotten corpse with pupil-less eyes, blue skin, and brown teeth -- literally, looks that can kill. Ploy isn't interested in talking things over, either; she's bent on tormenting sis to death. This horrific ghost will appear lying down next to her sister in bed; she'll hang herself from the blades of ceiling fans and hover above Pim; she'll even try to drown her sister in the bathtub. What's Ploy so pissed off about to want to stick around, anyhow?

You'll constantly be asking this question while watching Alone. Maybe Ploy was always jealous of Pim for being the "prettier" twin? Or perhaps Pim wore Ploy's shoes one day without her permission? You won't find out why until the very end. It's a clever trick to reel you into the film, and fortunately the answer is worth the wait.

Without spoiling the movie, I will say Alone occasionally weaves in and out of flashback to tell us the story of the twins' childhood -- up to the point where they come under the knife. The film takes an unorthodox approach to a character profile, since we're dealing with two people sharing one body. It's an unusual and somewhat plausible exploration of psychology.

Though Pisanthanakun and Wongpoom are talented with the camera, they slightly overdo it with the visuals. The majority of the film consists of Ploy scaring the bejeezus out of Pim whenever she's alone; at some point, you'll wonder if the directors kept adding Ploy-scares-Pim scenes just so they could hit the 90-minute runtime. Also, the recurring motif of objects split in half and lines like "You scared me half to death!" get cheesy. In one scene where Pim is looking in the mirror, Ploy is in the reflection and bangs on the mirror with her fists, causing Pim to fall down the stairs. Scenes like this will more likely make you giggle than shiver.

Don't get me wrong -- there's plenty of spook in Alone to get your money's worth. You'll definitely want some company should you watch this movie -- for the first 40 minutes, at least, before the ghost starts to bore you like a live musician who keeps doing encores.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 113 mins

In Theaters: Friday 7th November 2008

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Banjong Pisanthanakun, Parkpoom Wongpoom

Producer: Mingmonkul Sonakul, 'Aoy' Atchara Takaew

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